Flowers of Crete…
This Wild Flowers of Crete page is from the Completely Crete website Flora and Fauna section.
With over 1700 plants and wild flowers of Crete growing all over this wonderful Greek island it is a colourful and aromatic place to spend some time.
Wild Flowers of Crete
The wild flowers of Crete are amazing in variety and grow abundantly throughout this beautiful Greek Island. Over 2,000 different kinds of flora are found on Crete of which 150 or so plants and wild herbs are endemic, which means that they do not exist in any other place in the world.
Wild Cretan flowers, among them rare orchids, many of which are endemic, add colour and sweet smelling scent all year round to this beautiful Greek Island.
There is an infinite variety of colour, scent and size to the wild flowers of Crete. One of my favourites has to be the wild anemones that range in colour from white to pale lilac to deep purple.
Anemones also grow in all shades of pink. In the spring months in Crete whole areas seem to be carpeted by these lovely wild flowers.
There are plenty of other Cretan flowers too. In April and May Crete is abundant in wild flowers. Fragrant wild herbs such as Thyme, Sage and Rosemary add wonderful aroma to the hillsides.
Chamomile, poppies, anemones, iris, field gladiolus (Gladiolus italicus) and many species of wild orchids and other wonderful wild flowers of Crete grow all over this fabulous Greek Island.
FLOWERS OF CRETE
Meadows of vibrant scarlet red poppies create a colourful and wonderful scene that is breathtaking. You’ll see poppies in March, April, May and June in Crete growing in cultivated fallow fields and amongst olive groves.
Springtime is the best time to see a massive array of beautiful flowers of Crete when the mountains, plains, olive groves, fields and sea shores are covered with flowers.
Brilliant yellow centred chamomile is found all over the island and certainly gives a fresh spring feel and aroma to the island.
The very decorative purple Chaste Tree that flowers throughout the summer months is said to be an aphrodisiac for women – and just the opposite for men!
Click the link to learn more and see pictures of The Chaste Tree
May Day, Protomagiá (1 May), is a national holiday in Greece and Crete. May 1st is traditionally seen as a flower festival and the flowers of Greece play a central role in this celebration of spring and fertility.
FLOWERS OF GREECE
Cretan families will take the day off work and school and go to the fields and hillsides to pick wild flowers.
Families will picnic in the countryside and pick the wild flowers to make into wreaths.
The wildflower wreaths are then hung above doors, on fishing boats, on cars and trucks and other places with the intention of warding off evil and ushering in the spring season.
You’ll see men, women and children with whole armfuls of beautiful and colourful flowers picked from olive groves, meadows and hillsides. Later they fashion them into wreaths.
And if you are a sun lover yourself you’ll love the sun loving little Heliotrope flowering throughout the summer in Crete. Click the link to find out the sad tale from Greek mythology about The Heliotrope
Words alone cannot describe the beauty of the flowers of Crete so we’ve included a few pictures for your enjoyment.
WILDFLOWERS OF CRETE
A beautiful deep pink wild field gladiolus (Gladiolus italicus
) is a much prized decorative flower that is simply stunning when you see it through the olive groves. You can see it in full bloom in the spring months throughout Crete.
Click the link to learn more and see pictures of the elegant bright pink Field Gladiolus
And if you are holidaying or visiting the Greek island of Crete in the height of the summer and spend some time on its gorgeous beaches you may be lucky enough to spot a beautiful pure white flower growing in the hot sand. It is commonly known as the Sea Daffodil and has the Latin name of Pancratium maritimum.
Click the link to know more about The Sea Daffodil.
The Aromatic Inula also known as Dittrichia viscosa, Sticky fleabane and False Yellowhead is just one of the many wild flowers of Crete.
The Aromatic Inula belongs to the Asteraceae, (Daisy) family and grows all around the Mediterranean.
This flower grows abundantly in the autumn months all over the Greek Island of Crete. You'll find it along roadsides and uncultivated fields.
As its name suggests it has a lovely aroma and was traditionally used as a dye of a greenish yellow shade.
Click the link to know more about The Aromatic Inula.
To find out lots more about the wonderful wild flowers of Crete we can highly recommend the excellent, well written and informative hand book named Wild Flowers of Crete. It is expertly written and photographed by Vangelis Papiomitoglou. The text and images are a real boon to the explorer wanting to easily identify the many wild flowers of Crete. A crucial and affordable handbook for all nature lovers of the flora and fauna of Crete.
WILD FLOWERS OF CRETE
"Crete separated off from continental Greece about 5,000,000 years ago. This isolation, together with the existence of large mountain massifs which have functioned as ''botanical islands'' within the same island, explains the great degree of endemism among its plants, since 1 in 10 is indigenous."
"More than 1,700 different species are met on Crete. Such wealth can be better understood if it is considered that Great Britain, which has a surface area about 30 times greater, has fewer species of which hardly a single one is endemic."
"This book presents more than 500 plants - the most representative of the island - from the most common to the rarest. Little explanatory texts which focus on the botanical characteristics of the plants, on mythological references to them and often on the etymology of their names, together with a large number of photographs, make the book an essential source of reference for every nature-lover."
Another brilliant book we are very happy to recommend is the wonderful Plants of Crete – Healing, Aromatic and Edible. Entertainingly and informatively written by Antonis Alibertis this wonderful fully illustrated book is perfect for the Nature lover. In its 350 pages it contains colour photographs, the descriptions, habitat, properties and uses of a wide range of plants found on Crete, including endemics.
PLANTS OF CRETE
”Let's take a trip through the fascinating world of the herbs, the aromatic, edible and decorative plants of Crete. They will surely impress us with their countless characteristics and uses, transport us with their intoxicating scents, and enchant us with their unbelievable beauty, and we will learn how to recognize them more easily.”
“May our acquaintance with this wonderful world of Nature instil in us the love and respect which are essential for its greater and more effective protection. We - Nature and Man – are so closely bound to one another that we were meant to coexist only in harmony.”
For the ultimate in recognising, identifying, collecting and using the edible wild plants of Crete we can highly recommend this brilliant book.
WILD EDIBLE PLANTS OF CRETE
A well researched and beautifully bilingual photographed hard back book named Wild Edible Plants of Crete by Kleonikos Stavridakis is a valuable resource for all nature lovers and for fans of the Cretan Diet. Featuring many types of Horta traditionally collected by village women to add to the many delicious recipes that Crete has to offer this beautiful book is a must.
This book written in both Greek and English offers a comprehensive inventory of all the edible plants growing wild on the Greek Island of Crete. Kleonikos Stavridakis has with loving care compiled, classified and photographed the wild edible plants of Crete and offers this book as a valuable resource.
Our Village Shop to buy these books and others and for more details.
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